How long is it since you were sixteen? It's an awful long time since I was sixteen, and if you've been reading earlier posts, you'll know that my 20 year high school reunion was just a couple of weeks ago (for those of you who haven't read earlier posts, I didn't go).
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I had a conversation with a friend recently about if you knew then, what you know now. Which kind of got me thinking, what would I say to myself if I could sit down today and write a letter for 16 year old me, that 16 year old me would actually receive. So I thought I would give it a go here.
I know right now you just can't imagine being 36 years old. I know you've thought about the Year 2000 and how you'll be 27 when the new year hits and and that's totally unfathomable to you. But it does happen, and it will sail right by you really quickly, and before you know it, 2010 is racing up towards you at a phenomenal rate.
But that will be ok. Because unlike the years gone by, you feel more comfortable about time passing than you have when you were younger, and you'll not feel like you have all these deadlines and rules you have to stick by in your life.
I know right now in your life, you are all you have that you feel you can depend on. Things are changing all around you, you're finding a little bit of the strength you are capable of, and you're making decisions for YOU for the first time in your life. You're well versed in making adult decisions, you've been making them since you can remember, but this is about the first time you're making those decisions with yourself in mind. Even though you don't quite recognise it yet, and you're still trying to please everyone else, you're starting to get your first inkling that you do need to look after you before everyone else. That's good, because the sooner you learn that, the easier it gets honey!
You're scared, and you feel like things never change. They will. Boy oh boy will they change for you very soon. You're going to meet your first true love very soon, and you will still love him with your whole heart over 20 years later, even though you know he's not the man for you. And I promise you, he'll never break your heart. He'll teach you that men can be gentle and loving and giving, that they don't have to be about violence and humiliation. Watch out for him, you'll know he's a kindred spirit the moment you meet him.
Don't worry so much about what other people think about you. Worry about what you think about you. That's not an easy lesson to learn, but it is the truth. Especially don't worry what strangers or people you don't like think about you. They matter NOTHING. And if someone thinks bad things about you, then they're not worth caring about. The ones who matter love you to bits, and they'll prove it in a million ways.
Oh and your family? You're the one that's getting it right sweetie, it's ok. You will find a happiness that their selfishness and bitterness will never, ever afford them. You will be free.
Your body is not who you are. It's hard being different to everyone else, I know, but it doesn't define you. Who you are is in your heart and soul and mind. Again, those people who don't love you for who you really are, well, they're not worth caring about either.
Believe it or not, you can learn anything you put your mind to. A fucking brilliant TV show called Mythbusters is going to teach you that. Yep, a TV show. It will end up being one of the few things you bother to watch. Because every time it's on, it awakes a new curiosity in you for something else you can learn about. It will send you off to the library or the internet (don't worry, you'll learn what the internet is in about a decade, and you'll never look back) to learn more about a gazillion other subjects. Through that learning you'll discover a confidence in yourself that you would never have believed possible. Here they are, keep an eye out for them:
And guess what? The stutter goes away. Not totally, but enough that most people will never know you suffered from it, unless you choose to tell them. So much, that you'll even be public speaking one day.
But what I really want you to know is, you're awesome. Not in a wanky conceited way, but just you, as you really are, with all your flaws, mistakes, fuck-ups, goofiness and traits that some people put you down for, are actually awesome. You don't have to be perfect to be awesome. You are a smart, beautiful, funny and HUGELY open hearted woman. And the day you realise that will be the most liberating moment of your life.
I love you.